How Much Does It Cost to Reupholster a Couch?
Reupholstering a sofa can instantly make it feel brand-new again. The cost to reupholster a couch ranges from $600 to $4,000, or $1,750 on average.
- Typical Range: $600 to $4,000
- National Average: $1,750
A home’s sofa is often the focal point of a living room or family room. Even if the fabric has seen better days, the owner still may want to hold on to the sofa. It could be an heirloom piece, the framing could be in good shape, or the style could be timeless. Whatever the reason for hanging on to an old couch, reupholstering it can bring it new life and make it feel new again. A reupholstered sofa will have brand-new fabric professionally fastened to the old frame. If it’s done correctly, most people will never know the difference between a sofa straight from a store and one that has been reupholstered.
How much does it cost to reupholster a couch? According to HomeAdvisor, the cost ranges from $600 to $4,000, with the average price to reupholster a couch landing at $1,750. The exact cost depends on the sofa type, size, and much more. This upholstery price guide will cover all of the potential costs associated with couch recovering and help homeowners and renters learn how to hire an expert to do it.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Reupholster a Couch
The cost of reupholstering a sofa depends largely on the type of sofa, type of fabric, and the amount of fabric required. Each of these cost factors and a few more are explained below to aid in estimating the cost of a sofa upholstery project.
The type of couch is the most significant factor affecting the cost to recover a couch. The cost to reupholster a love seat is $600 to $2,000, while the cost to reupholster a sectional reaches from $2,000 to $4,000. As the sofa type and style become more intricate and detailed, the reupholstering process will take longer and require the hands of an expert upholsterer. For example, reupholstering a chaise lounge costs just $900 to $1,500. That is on the lower end of the price range compared to the cost of reupholstering a leather sofa for $600 to $4,000. The costs to reupholster a French provincial, camelback, tight back, semi-attached back, and tufted sofa are detailed later in this guide. To reupholster loose sofa cushions, customers can expect to pay between $200 and $500 per cushion.
The type of fabric used for furniture reupholstery is also a significant cost factor, as fabric can range from $10 to $200 per yard. There are many different fabric colors, textures, and qualities that contribute to this wide cost range. Budget-friendly sofa fabrics like cotton, linen, linen-cotton blend, nylon, polyester, and olefin fall on the lower end of the range between $10 and $45 per yard. Customers can expect to pay $30 to $55 per yard for twill, $45 to $55 per yard for leather, $45 to $90 per yard for rayon, and $55 to $65 per yard for velvet. It’s recommended that customers browse through one of the best online fabric stores to learn more about different types of sofa fabrics and to compare durability and costs before making their selection for a reupholstery project.
The more fabric required to reupholster sofa surfaces, the more the overall project cost. This cost factor depends mostly on the size of a sofa; reupholstering a love seat costs $600 to $2,000 while reupholstering a sectional costs $2,000 to $4,000. Size is not the only factor that affects the fabric amount. Sofas with intricate details or a loose fabric design will need more fabric. For example, a sofa with tight material typically needs 5 to 10 yards of fabric, but a sofa with loose material and intricate details could require up to 18 yards of fabric. An average-size sectional will need around 36 yards of fabric.
The labor costs for couch reupholstering range from $40 to $100 per hour. While reupholstery projects are typically charged as a total cost, customers can expect the cost for labor to fall within this hourly range. Labor costs will be on the higher end for more difficult projects that require a greater level of skill. These types of projects can involve antique or heirloom furniture pieces. Geographic location also plays a role in labor costs, as labor is more expensive in populated areas with a higher cost of living.
There may be some cost associated with transporting a sofa from a home to an upholster’s shop. If the customer has the means to transport the furniture themselves, there is no cost for transportation; however, customers can expect to pay $100 to $300 per trip if they need to have the sofa picked up and dropped off. Smaller, easy-to-move furniture will fall on the lower end of the price range, while heavy, large furniture will cost the most to move.
Additional Costs and Considerations
In addition to the cost factors described above, there are a few more that apply in certain situations. Depending on the style and condition of the sofa, customers may also need to account for expenses in the following categories.
If a couch has been damaged, the structural framing might require repair before any reupholstering can take place. Couch frame repair costs between $50 and $240, depending on the extent of the damage. This type of repair is not all that common; however, it must be addressed to avoid having a newly upholstered sofa that leans, sinks, or creaks. Sofas that have been in storage or haven’t been used in a while will likely require at least some level of frame repair.
Tufting—intentionally placed buttons usually found along the back of a sofa—will add more cost to the total cost of a reupholstery project, in most cases 30 percent. A sofa with tufting requires more fabric and more labor to move the stuffing around carefully and install the buttons. While a customer could choose to skip the tufting while reupholstering a sofa, this detail is usually essential to the design of a sofa, and most customers will want to keep it as part of the design.
Over time, the stuffing inside a sofa cushion will condense and no longer be as comfortable to sit on. This can be fixed during a sofa reupholstery project by restuffing the cushion. The cost of restuffing couch cushions depends on the material used. Customers can expect to pay between $100 and $200 per cushion for foam stuffing, $200 and $500 per cushion for down-enveloped foam stuffing, and $200 to $1,200 for 100 percent down stuffing. Restuffing pillows costs $100 to $175 each. While the restuffing process is not necessarily difficult, it does require new stitching, and the stuffing itself can be costly.
Just as the stuffing will break down and condense over time, the padding on a sofa’s back and arms will do the same, making the sofa feel harder and less comfortable. Installing new padding on a sofa costs between $10 and $20 per square foot. If a customer plans to pay for a sofa to be reupholstered and look new, it is a good idea for them to also pay for new padding so it feels new.
Seat Spring Replacement
The springs in a sofa’s seats will collapse as the sofa is used over and over. It is advisable for customers to have any collapsed or worn springs replaced while having a sofa reupholstered. The cost to do so ranges from $220 to $400. Seat spring replacement can be a time-consuming task, but it is well worth it so a sofa’s seats are comfortable again.
Reupholstering Costs by Type of Couch
The cost to reupholster a sofa certainly depends on the type. There are many different types of couches, and even when purchased from several of the best sofa brands, they have similar features that determine the cost for reupholstering. Several of the standard types of couches and the cost to upholster each one are detailed below.
The cost to reupholster a love seat ranges from $600 to $2,000. Factors such as the size of the love seat, the number of cushions, and the cushions’ removability will impact the cost. Since love seats are typically smaller than standard sofas, the cost to reupholster one is at the lower end of the cost range.
Reupholstering a sectional costs between $2,000 and $4,000. The cost falls at the higher end of the cost range due to the large size of a sectional sofa. Additionally, the more parts a sectional has and the more complex the construction, the more a customer can expect to pay. Some sectionals have just two sections with attached cushions, while others have up to nine sections with removable cushions, requiring a lot of fabric.
It costs between $900 and $1,500 to reupholster a chaise lounge. Chaise lounges are often less expensive to reupholster than standard sofas, as they don’t have any backing or loose cushions, making the reupholstery process simpler. The cost could creep up if the chaise lounge is vintage or antique with lots of intricate details.
To reupholster a French provincial sofa, the cost will be anywhere from $750 to $1,500, depending on the size, style, and details. Many French provincial sofas have intricate framing that requires extra time and care during the reupholstery process. The framing and any other structural parts will be repaired before the fabric reupholstering begins. Customers will want to consider hiring a specialist upholsterer if their French provincial sofa is an antique or an heirloom.
It costs $1,100 to $1,200 to reupholster a camelback sofa. Camelback sofas have a signature curved back that actually makes the reupholstery process a bit easier. The exact cost will depend on the size of the sofa and any intricate detailing. The curve on the back of a camelback sofa can be a modern single curve or a standard double curve, among other variations.
Tight Back Sofa
Reupholstering a tight back sofa costs between $1,000 and $1,200. On a tight back sofa, the back cushion is built into the frame, so there are no loose cushions. This makes reupholstering a bit easier and less time-consuming. There will be quite a few seams and more detailing to work with, so customers will want to hire an expert to reupholster a tight back sofa.
Semi-Attached Back Sofa
The cost to reupholster a semi-attached back sofa ranges from $1,100 to $1,300. This type of sofa features back cushions that are attached; however, they have a little more movement than those on a tight back sofa. Attaching the cushions to achieve the semi-attached look is a bit tricky; customers are advised to hire a trained professional for semi-attached back sofa upholstering.
Loose Cushion Sofa
Customers can expect to pay between $200 and $500 to reupholster a single loose sofa cushion. The exact cost depends on the size of the cushion and the type of fabric. Most often, this price range does not include restuffing. A customer may need to reupholster couch cushions only if they have a wood-framed sofa or if they’re on outdoor furniture pieces.
Tufted Back Sofa
Reupholstering a tufted back sofa costs anywhere from $1,380 to $1,4800. A tufted back sofa features upholstery that connects directly to the sofa frame with buttons. Achieving the signature tufted look is not necessarily difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Tufted back sofas can be combined with other types of sofas, adding to the difficulty of the reupholstering process and therefore the price.
To reupholster leather couches, customers can expect to pay between $600 and $4,000. Despite what many may think, leather reupholstery is actually not more expensive than reupholstery with other fabrics. In most cases, it is a better financial decision to reupholster an existing leather sofa than buy a brand-new leather sofa. Leather is durable, long-lasting, and timeless.
Benefits of Reupholstering a Couch
There are many reasons it makes more sense to reupholster a sofa rather than purchase a new one. Each of the potential benefits of reupholstering a couch is described below.
Most often, the only thing stopping a beautiful antique piece of furniture from being used in someone’s home is the old, worn-out, stained fabric. When an antique sofa is cleaned and reupholstered, it can be used once again rather than being abandoned or thrown out. Antique furniture tends to be well built and may even have sentimental value if it has been passed down through the generations. Reupholstering the fabric will give it renewed life.
In most cases, reupholstering a sofa is a more customizable process than buying new furniture. While some furniture stores will allow a customer to choose a fabric for a new sofa, it must come from a curated list with a limited selection. By reupholstering a furniture piece, the customer can choose the exact fabric they want and even add detailed features. This allows customers to choose a fabric that matches their home decor or gives a modern edge to an old-fashioned piece.
Choosing to reupholster a sofa is a sustainable, environmentally friendly choice for a couple of reasons. First of all, it repurposes a piece of furniture that a customer already has, saving it from going into a landfill. Secondly, reupholstering is an environmentally friendly alternative to buying new furniture. A customer can also choose to use biodegradable or recycled fabrics to make their reupholstery decision even more sustainable.
Reupholstering furniture is often a cheaper alternative to buying a new piece. While this is not always the case, a customer can choose the right fabric to make reupholstering the budget-conscious choice. If they like the style and size of their current sofa, reupholstering is a cost-effective option for customers over buying something new.
Couch Reupholstering: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Quality furniture upholstery requires lots of training and a sharp set of skills. While a homeowner or renter certainly can DIY reupholster couch furniture pieces, the work likely won’t look professional. Novice upholstery projects have saggy fabric, uneven seams, or impaired functionality. If a customer doesn’t know how to recover a chair or sofa, it is well worth the cost to hire a professional upholsterer.
A professional upholsterer will have the proper tools and skill set to recover a sofa’s fabric. They will follow all the necessary steps, ensuring the fabric is tight enough and mimics the fabric on a brand-new sofa. Plus, a furniture expert can recommend any other work the furniture piece may need, like framing repairs or cushion restuffing. This ensures the sofa is not only beautiful but also functional upon completion of the project.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Reupholster a Couch
Sofa reupholstery can get expensive, especially if the sofa is large or antique. To save some money while bringing a sofa back to life, consider incorporating some of these money-saving tips.
- Choose a budget-friendly fabric. Not all sofa fabrics are created equal. Certain fabrics, like cotton, linen, nylon, and polyester, are much more budget-friendly than the alternatives. Keep in mind that cheaper fabrics do not have the durability of more expensive options, so do your research before making a fabric choice.
- Use a couch cover. If your furniture fabric still has some life left in it, consider using one of the best couch covers rather than doing an entire reupholstering project. While this is not necessarily a long-term solution, it could prolong your sofa for a little while longer while you budget for reupholstery.
- Get creative. There are many creative ways to revive an old sofa that don’t involve complete reupholstering. Consider adding new details or embellishments, restuffing the cushions, or refreshing the pillows and decor.
Questions to Ask About Couch Reupholstering
To have a chair or sofa reupholstered, customers can reach out to a local upholstery shop. Below are questions to ask about their process so the customer knows what to expect over the course of the project.
- Do you offer free estimates?
- Will you provide a written quote and contract?
- Are you licensed and insured to complete this type of work?
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you provide references from similar projects?
- What fabrics do you offer?
- Can I bring my own fabric?
- Do you offer transportation for the sofa?
- Do you recommend any additional work, like frame repair or restuffing?
- Can you replicate all of the existing details on the furniture piece?
- Is this piece worth reupholstering?
- Do you require a down payment, and if so, how much?
- Do you offer payment plans, and if so, what is the payment schedule?
- Do you offer a warranty on your work?
- How soon can you schedule the reupholstery?
- How long will the process take?
Whether a customer is just considering a sofa reupholstery project or is ready to hire a professional upholsterer, these frequently asked questions give just a little more information on the subject.
Q. Can you reupholster an entire couch?
Yes, it is possible to reupholster an entire couch. The fabric on the couch’s back, arms, front, and cushions can all be removed and replaced. Reupholstering a couch with new fabric will bring it back to life and make it look like a new piece of furniture.
Q. How much fabric do I need to reupholster a couch?
To determine how much fabric is needed to reupholster a couch, complete the following measurements. Measure the length of the couch across the back, and count up the number of cushions. To start, a 6-foot-long sofa with 2 cushions requires 12 yards of fabric. Add another 2 yards of fabric for each additional foot-long length of the sofa and another 1 ½ yards for each additional cushion. If the couch has any extra detailing, like a skirt or tufting, add another 2 yards.
Q. Is it cheaper to reupholster or buy a new couch?
In most cases, it is cheaper to reupholster a couch rather than buy a new one. When reupholstering, you already own the couch and just have to pay for the new fabric and upholstery services. While the cost of upholstery can be expensive sometimes, it is still usually cheaper than the cost of a brand-new, comparable sofa.
Q. How long does it take to reupholster a couch?
It can take anywhere from 5 to 25 hours to reupholster a couch. Since couches come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, the time to reupholster one varies significantly. The duration will also depend on the skill of the upholsterer. It will take much longer for a novice to complete a reupholstery project than an expert.
Q. Can I reupholster my own couch?
It is certainly possible for someone to reupholster their own couch. It’s important that they purchase enough fabric, read up on the reupholstering process, and purchase the correct tools. They’ll want to keep in mind, however, that DIY sofa reupholstering usually does not look as clean and professional as a job completed by an expert. The seams may look uneven, and the fabric may not be tight enough. It’s recommended that customers reupholster their own couch only if they are on a strict budget or are not as concerned with the look of the final product.
Q. What kind of fabric should I use to reupholster a couch?
Homeowners and renters are advised to choose a fabric to upholster a couch that meets their style, budget, and durability preferences. Certain fabrics like polyester, linen, and cotton are the most inexpensive, but they do not have the best durability. Rayon and twill are more durable fabrics but are much more expensive. Fabrics like leather and velvet can make a couch the statement feature in a space.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide, SFGate